Because almost as soon as enthusiastic cheers from their dedicated band of followers die down, it's often a return to business as usual upon returning to their offices and their day jobs. In the aftermath of all that euphoria, adulation and back patting, nothing much actually changes.
This seems to be especially the case when it comes to the politics of climate change. Whilst individuals from most political persuasions seem to earnestly believe all the rhetoric and claim to be intent on cutting pollution, global emissions actually continue to rise. This despite numerous high profile agreements being signed and rubber stamped over the years.
Perversely, only the Covid-19 outbreak ever really made a significant dent in global emission levels. Despite the many unprecedented situations that came about during the pandemic, emissions only fell by a paltry 6.4 percent. Levels have since rebounded sharply as countries gradually get their economies back on track and some semblance of normality returns to daily life.
But is 'normality' and a return to some sort of flawed default really what we need right now?
The pandemic provided a unique window, and through it we could all see the challenges that lie ahead for nations committed to fighting climate change. The United Nations Environment Programme has calculated that the world needs to cut carbon emissions by at least 7.6 percent per annum for the next decade in order to prevent the globe from warming more than 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels (a goal set in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement).
However, in these post-lockdown times, demand for dwindling resources appears to be rising rather than falling and this surge in demand is the catalyst for huge commodity price spikes. Large scale reopening has become the Yin to the lockdown Yan as pandemic induced gluts are now replaced by global gluttony.
Of course, none of this heightened demand bodes well for our poor beleaguered planet and it's rapidly changing climate. On the contrary. It goes entirely against the grain of what climate scientists have been trying to tell us for some time now.
It seems that we are somehow caught between a rock and a hard place. In western economies, success is measured in terms of economic growth. It's all about maximising productivity and getting the very best bang for our buck. But all this demands energy - and a lot of it. The more bang we get for our buck, the more we are able to consume and the more demands we make on global resources. This in turn demands more energy and energy consumption produces greenhouse gases which is, of course, bad news. Nearly everything we do in the western world creates a carbon footprint, whether we stay at home as we did during lockdown or whether we venture out on our travels.
So what is COP26 all about then?
The 2021 COP26 summit in Glasgow aims to bring parties together in order to accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. So basically, we seem to need yet another summit to consolidate agreements that have already been made but not yet wholly implemented.
It looks to me like it's going to be an almighty task to reconcile the necessity for economic well-being with these newfangled aspirations for a lean, green environmentally friendly future. As things stand, those two visions of a prosperous, clean, utopian future combined with growing and increasingly prosperous economies make for extraordinarily uncomfortable bedfellows. But I shall be listening intently and hoping for some kind of stroke of genius to emerge from what is destined to be an abundance of fashionable sound bites and general flimflam.
Whilst there is an acceptance that these gatherings play a vital role in highlighting the issues our world now faces, the task of turning humanity altogether 'green' anytime soon seems to be a pretty daunting prospect, especially as the global population continues to grow.
There may well suddenly be a greater consensus about the urgent need to address these environmental woes but the question that really begs to be answered is how will genuinely workable solutions be found and, more importantly, who is going to be genuinely willing to pay the price and make the necessary sacrifices and adjustments? All of this is going to cost an awful lot of money and, no doubt, we will all have to pay for it eventually.
The Paris conference (COP21) in 2015 was deemed to be a success. But in reality, it seems to have been a devious case of smoke and mirrors. The promises given by countries back then have actually put the world on course for a catastrophic 3C to 4C rise in warming rather than the 1.5C deemed essential to help "save the planet".
And I'm afraid it gets quite a lot worse. 125 countries failed to put forward any emission reduction proposals to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by the deadline of December 31 2020. China was one of these countries. Unsurprising perhaps, seeing as China is burning even more coal and fossil fuels than ever before. It's also unsurprising because China has enjoyed years of unprecedented development and economic growth, all of which consumes mind boggling quantities of resources and consequently pumps out equally mind bending quantities of carbon emissions. Proof, if any were needed, that we can't have one thing without the other.
The 70 countries which did comply with aspects of the Paris Agreement are responsible for just 28 per cent of the world's emissions. So, they alone cannot meet the requirements to sufficiently lower these emissions. The biggest polluters really do need to be aboard on this one otherwise all this talk about reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases is entirely pointless.
So, if the 125 climate 'rogue' countries do not come up with legally binding plans together with the other 70 compliant countries, emissions are projected to keep on rising far beyond a level that will ensure a warming of only 1.5 to 2.0C. If this remains the case, then COP26 will indeed prove to be yet another talking shop where very little is actually achieved.
Considering that COP26 has been hailed as Planet Earth's "last chance saloon," I think it's very understandable that the entire world will be tuning in with baited breath. I know I will be.